Even Though It’ll Be Insipid, VERSUS Needs to Start Covering the Draft

We all hate “Hockey Central”.  This is a known fact.  But how can we take VERSUS seriously as a network if they refuse to send anyone to the NHL Draft?  

It’s simply one of the steps that the network needs to take.  After the jump are a few ways to make it happen.

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did you want me to thank your wife?

Let’s face it, the NHL Awards are basically a trainwreck. But I don’t even think it was one of those fun and amusing trainwrecks. Like I didn’t get the same joy out of that wreck like I do when I watch Rock of Love: Refilling My Valtrex or Charm School: I’m Out on Parole. The awards were more painfully awkward than the British version of The Office. Instead of documenting the actual awards, I did a fashion critique. Really I like to play to my strengths.

The esteemed Chaka Khan (Chaka Khan) really is perfect for Vegas, justtttt not for the NHL Awards. There was a weird age gap thing going on. The awards felt like 1993, when Vegas was dying because it still thought it was the era of the Rat Pack. Robin Thicke is so smooth and lovely, but uhm more for the ladies I think. I was actually a bit shocked the NHL couldn’t scrounge up Nickleback. Or even Poison. Then to have the wonderful Michael Buble, or The Buble as he is refered to among my peeps, to not even sing was just a crime. He was a good present, better than Jeremy Roenick who I was expecting at some point to talk Twitter or the Facebooks and the power of fans.

I decided the NHL should just toss a bunch of us bloggers in a room and provide an open bar and then the awards can be done like The Soup. Instead of yelling It’s Miley! I’ll just be yelling It’s Avery! Perhaps Wysh will dress up like Mankini. And because he’ll be scraping the barrell for some cred, Gary Bettman will drop in and any joke Joel McHale has ever made about Ryan Seacrest will be applicable to the tiny hockey fuhr. Reality Show Clip Time would just be the best of fights of the seasons. Chicks Man would obviously be a montage of NHL WAGS. Oh and because of short attention spans, it’d be a half hour long just like The Soup. And production costs would be like 127 dollars. And there would be Spaghetti Cat.

Why am I not in charge of more things? Is it because I stay up super late and get up around brunchtime?

Inspired By, Or Ripping Off Others: Glossary of NHL Fans By Team

We’re really lazy when it comes to books.  We still have Dave King’s “King of Russia” waiting to be read.  We haven’t gotten through all of “Searching For Bobby Orr”, though we really want too.  However, we did manage to finally pick up a copy of Will Leitch’s “God Save the Fan”.  It’s a great book, if only Will realized that my generation simply does not give a shit about baseball.  At all.  But there was one section we particularly loved: The glossaries.

Particularly, we enjoyed the glossary for each teams’ fans.  But as we all know, Mr. Leitch isn’t a puck fan in the least, so the NHL’s 30 fanbases were disinvited from the party.  However, we’ve decided to end that now, by doing it ourselves.  Consider it a harmless exercise in comedy and a fun break from your Sunday afternoon.  There’s even a not so subtle reference to the book in there, so we’re double ripping the great Mr. Leitch off.  Enjoy it, after the jump of course.

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On Hockey Writing: Does Old Blood Keep Coverage of the Game From Advancing?

Note: It’s Summer, and we feel the need to write something, anything that doesn’t involve Pierre McGuire.  Consider this the first in a series of semi-serious essays about our thoughts on the hockey media.  Hey, it’s Saturday, so might as well…

There’s the face of mainstream hockey-writing in America, and for that matter, North America.  Sorry, Kevin Allen.  Think about it.  When at least the faces of writers who cover football and baseball (Chris Mortensen, Ken Rosenthal, Jay Glazer) look fairly youthful (Though that’s debatable with Mort) the men (and it’s 95% men if I or you ventured a guess) who cover this sport are mostly Larry Brooks-types.  Look at the Hotstove segment of Hockey Night in Canada.  It’s Al Strachan, Pierre LeBrun, and Scott Morrison if Mike Milbury decides he’s too bored to give Strachan wet willies all day.  Morrison’s the youngest looking of the three, and he’s gotta be in his mid-40’s. 

The question were roundaboutly getting to is: Are hockey writers too old for us to take any notice of what they say?

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5 Things the NHL Can Do to Avoid Disaster Again

So we’re sorry guys.  The NHL Awards did not turn out to be awesome.  I’m pretty sure I visibly aged while I tuned in.  Kevin Smith and Denis Leary were the only thing that saved the show.  Can next year’s show be all taped bits?  Here are five other suggestions for next year:

  1. Celebrity Host, Or a Host at All – One thing we’ve all agreed we were tired of is that Ron MacLean’s hosting gig had become stale.  Well, this year’s awkward transitions between Jeremy Roenick (who really disappointed me), “Entourage” star Kevin Connolly, and Vancouver Canucks analyst/occasional crooner Michael Buble (the best of the bunch) was awkward, as was most of the show.  Either give the spot back to Ron or get a celebrity.  Alan Thicke mentioned hosting a couple shows during the red carpet on NHL.com.  Why not Kevin Smith?  Denis Leary?  Buble again?
  2. All Celebrity Presenters – Hockey players reading teleprompters: Not a good thing.  I think we’d all agree that there should be more Tricia Helfer, less Igor Larionov.  Though it was touching to see Vladimir Konstantinov again.
  3. Make The Lighting So that attendees Don’t Look Purple – Did you seem some of these guys on TV?  Jean Beliveau looked purple when they cut to him in the crowd.  Now that VERSUS has perfected the art of not screwing up the broadcast, let’s get some proper color down.
  4. One Chaka Khan is Enough – It’s great that Robin Thicke digs hockey, and that JR digs Chaka Khan, but we need music that represents the spirit of the game a little more next year.  We know the league doesn’t like to use bands that make “too much sense”, but we’ll have The Tragically Hip and Barenaked Ladies just fine, thank you.
  5. No More Cutting to Pointless Non-Celebrities – We like Heidi Androl and Carrie Millbank as much as the regular red-blooded American male.  But there’s absolutely no point to cutting to them during an award speech.  At all.

Your NHL Awards Open Thread

NHL Awards Ceremony, Live from Las Vegas
7:30 PM ET

NHL Getting it Right By Livening Up Dull Awards Show

Now we like Stompin’ Tom and Ron MacLean as much as anyone, but we don’t believe we’re the first to say that the NHL Awards Show had fallen into a serious rut.  Year after year un-promoted and dumped off on ESPN2 or VERSUS (and let us not forget the various debacles VERSUS has produced as far as getting the show to air) and long mentioned as “Oh, that?  How long till the draft and UFA day?” by many hockey fans.

So let’s give the NHL some credit when it comes to mixing things up.  It appears MacLean has been dropped as host in favor of what appears to be no host (Yay, no more hackey hockey jokes!) and more pizazz.  Snoop Dogg and Michael Buble?  Sure.  A taped bit from Denis Leary?  Why not?  Chaka Khan?  Save me, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan!  

Oh, and did we mention: Vegas!  Getting NHL events out of good ol’ boy haunts like Toronto (Which had hosted it forever, save a couple years ago Vancouver) is exactly what the league needs to liven up it’s image.  Now, will the proposed three years in Vegas become stale?  Perhaps, but it’s one of the greatest cities in the world to consistently reinvent yourself, so let’s hope the NHL finds out what works and what doesn’t and comes up with something new for the city this year.

Overall, we’re about as excited as you can be for an NHL Awards show.  We’re going to try not to tear up when we see Pat Burns.  We kind of hope Zach Parise doesn’t win the Lady Bing.  Oh, and Chaka Khan!  Join us for an open thread starting at 5:30!

Some Book Keeping and a Question For the Readers

We updated the VERSUS College Football schedule for ’09, in case you’re interested.  Still some holes and TBD’s there, but VERSUS stands to have another season as a legitimate college football network, though some of the games may be lacking, there’s always a chance at getting USC again.  Also, so far there’s nothing that weekend of Oct. 2-3 that could stop VERSUS from airing NHL Premiere games, assuming that they’ll take place at Noon and 2:30 PM ET again.  All VERSUS has is a 7PM ET Pac-10 Game.  What they should do is air hockey at 1 & 4 PM ET, then head to football.  Trust us, VERSUS, having 9-10 hours of live, big-time sports programming is good for you.  

If only you could tie it all together with a legitimate sports studio show.  Or even studio shows dedicated to the two sports you’re airing.  If I was VERSUS, I’d slate the day like this:

1:00 Chicago vs. Florida
4:00 Detroit vs. St. Louis
7:00 Pac-10 Football
10:00 College Football Central
10:30 Hockey Central

Then you move into your garbage “Sports Soup” and whatnot.  Hell, if you have a PBR event and need to air it at 10, even better, just move the football and hockey shows back two hours.  It’s not too hard to come up with these things, but it’s another to execute them.

Now, a question for you guys and something we kind of missed last week.  Marc Crawford leaves CBC for the Stars.  Who takes his place?  Does CBC settle for Greg Millen?  Or do they go out and make a big hire?  Your call, boys and girls.

Adventures in YouTube: Why do the Griffins Cheer For the Rangers Against the Bruins?

Reviewing NBC and VERSUS Coverage of the Stanley Cup Final

Before we hit the get go, the venerable Ken Fang has something similar to this on his site, we suggest you check it out.

Anyway, let’s break down the coverage into categories, right after the jump.

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